When you’re young, you learn about zero. Zero is zero. It’s nothing. It is where positive numbers start. You learn to count up from zero and down back to it. You learn that adding zero to something else just gives you that something else again. It’s not so much a number as it is a truth. Zero is nothing. Zero is comfortable. Zero is safe.
So you go on with your life believing your zero is still zero. You don’t even think about it. It just is. It’s just there. It’s just nothing.
Until one day, your zero is something. And it makes no sense, because your zero has never been something. Nothing can’t just become something in a world that is built around nothing. There’s no room for the something. You aren’t prepared. You aren’t ready. You don’t want something when you were perfectly okay with nothing.
And you’ve heard of this happening to other people. You’ve heard of their zeros becoming twos and sixes and 3-5 years. But your zero has always been zero. And you’ve hung onto your zero in the midst of other people’s nines.
So now you’re in your car or your bedroom or your closet, and you’re staring at this zero, watching it grow and form and change and exist, and you wonder how to pick out a sweater when it’s staring so piercingly back at you. How do you paint your nails when your zero isn’t zero anymore? How do you buy Christmas presents? How do you read a book or ask for extra dressing on your salad or spend thirty minutes curling your hair when your zero is something? How do you explain to people that now your zero is the one that is seven, or three months, or five years, or six more rounds of tests, or ten more scans? How do you remember to buy yogurt at the store when suddenly your zero is dividing and multiplying and no one can explain to you how or why it’s happening?
So you lay on your bathroom floor in a towel and remember that you were never promised that zero would always be nothing. You assumed it would, because it always had been, but it was never a guarantee. So you trust that God is the God of all things. That he is above all numbers. That he is sovereign over the nothings and the somethings, the sixes and the twelves, and the multiplication and division of them all. You remember that a woman of the Lord laughs at the days to come, that the man who seeks righteousness does not fear bad news. You are unwavering in your belief that the Lord is good. And that his will is perfectly enacted for the redemption of his people and the exaltation of his glory. So you know that somehow this new something has to fall into that plan.
But when your zero is suddenly a three or a seven or a ninety, when your nothing has suddenly become such a something, all the other somethings start to look a whole lot like nothings.
And it’s really hard to imagine when that feeling will stop.
I suppose maybe it doesn’t. I suppose maybe some of the somethings should be nothings. And I suppose maybe you just have to trust that the new somethings are things of the Lord. I suppose maybe that’s part of the process.
Either way, we’re still fighting for the zero.
And praying for joy in the fight.
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